Esoteric Traditions and Practices in Bogomilism and CatharismYuri Stoyanov, Ph,D.

A Geometry of MysterySteve Bass, M.A.

Crimes of Vision: The Cathars, Their Teachings and Their FateLeonard George, Ph.D.

The Inner Contemplative Magdalene TraditionKayleen Asbo, Ph.D.

Cathar Manuscripts, History and ReligionBertran de La Farge

Catharism in ItalyMalcolm Kennard, Ph.D.

The Spiritual Dimension of MusicKaren Ralls, Ph.D.

The Quest for the Holy Grail and The Mystery of Thoth’s Library Leigh McCloskey

Archaic, Sacred and Polyphonic songs from OccitaniaTerra Maïre

Esoteric Traditions and Practices in Bogomilism and Catharism
Yuri Stoyanov, Ph,D.

This workshop will present the evidence and discuss the latest debates regarding the provenance and evolution of esoteric traditions in Bogomilism and Catharism, ranging from the existence and use of secret mythic narratives (as a preserve of the Bogomil/Cathar elite of the perfecti) to the records of mystical and visionary practices cultivated by these elites. We will address the historical and religious mysteries related to the origins and transmission of these traditions, and consider their parallels to and interrelations with currents in early Kabbalah, medieval mysticism, heavenly ascent and secret apocalypticism, and other forbidden apocryphal literature and lore

A Geometry of Mystery
Steve Bass, M.A.

The ‘Gothic’, or pointed arch, style of architecture arose relatively rapidly in the 12th century in the context of the Neo-Platonic school of Chartres and the triumphant return of the Knight Templars. Within this process of transition swirled the mysteries of the prehistoric Celts, the initiatic secrets of the Templars, and extra-orthodox contact between Muslims, Jews and Christians. This presentation examines early and late medieval architecture in relation to these visible and non-visible, social and spiritual forces, and to aspects of sacred geometry that guided the vision of the Gothic builders.

Crimes of Vision:
The Cathars, Their Teachings and Their Fate

Leonard George, Ph.D.

Languedoc in the 12th century was the most literate and cultured region in Europe, with a distinctive language, vibrant court life and high degree of autonomy. The Occitans tolerated, and even embraced, a form of Christianity that came to be known as Catharism, a term invented by their enemies. They called themselves les Bons Hommes – “the good guys”. Their radical critique of the material world led them to reject the Catholic Church as evil, and to promote a range of heretical beliefs, including reincarnation, gender equality and rejection of marriage. They are usually described as “dualists”. But surviving hints about their secret teachings point to other visions.

The Inner Contemplative Magdalene Tradition
Kayleen Asbo, Ph.D.

When John Cassian arrived in La Baume in 415 AD, he brought the wisdom of the Egyptian Desert Fathers and Mothers with him in order to establish a double monastery in honor of Mary Magdalene. In this experiential workshop, we will explore the roots of the contemplative Christian tradition as they stretch from Alexandria through the Benedictine, Gnostic and French Orthodox lineages of Europe. To conclude our session, we will use the Gospel of Mary (as translated by the French Orthodox priest Jean Yves Leloup) to engage in the contemplative practice of lectio divina.

Cathar Manuscripts, History and Religion
Bertran de La Farge

This workshop focuses on the remaining medieval manuscripts from the Cathar tradition with a focus on their spiritual and mystical aims and practices. A special emphasis will be placed on the legacy of the celebrated researcher, the late Deodat Roche, without whom our knowledge of the Cathars would be greatly diminished.

Catharism in Italy
Malcolm Kennard, Ph.D.

It is not commonly known that Catharism was long the largest unorthodox spiritual movement in Northern Italy and flourished there almost until the late 14th century. Here, Cathars were able to move freely and offer sanctuary and support to their persecuted French co-religionists. This was primarily due to the ongoing conflict between the Papacy and Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. Wherever the pro-imperial Ghibellines ruled, the Cathars were tolerated. Frederick enjoyed Provencal poetry and was a patron of Troubadours. This workshop will explore the factors that allowed Catharism to survive in Northern Italy after its almost complete eradication in France.

The Spiritual Dimension of Music
Karen Ralls, Ph.D.

Why did the ancients believe in a spiritual dimension to music, often featuring it in many worldwide tales, legends and traditions?  What do medieval sources reveal about certain musicians, instruments, times, places and effects? Why did many early civilizations and temple rituals highly value certain musical intervals, rhythms, and acoustic properties? The spiritual dimension of music is still a universal subject today. In the words of Plato, “Music gives…wings to the mind”

The Quest for the Holy Grail and The Mystery of Thoth’s Library
Leigh McCloskey

Hearkening back to the chivalry and romance of the Troubadours, the legends of the knights of the Grail and the mystery of the grand cathedrals, Leigh will guide us through art, iconography, esoteric tradition and alchemy on a visual journey that explores the purpose and meaning of the Great Quest. He also will trace how the seeds of this Quest have blossomed in the archetypal imagery of his work, Tarot ReVisioned, and within his painted 3D library-studio and wonder study, The Hieroglyph of the Human Soul.

Archaic, Sacred and Polyphonic songs from Occitania
Terra Maïre

Beatriz and Marie-Ange evoke the spiritual heritage of the Troubadours and Cathars with their repertoire of polyphonic songs, prayers, and spontaneous inspirations. In this workshop they will teach participants how to make their voices resonate within the human body. They will also use movement, breath and touch to help us journey back to the mood and soul quality of the Middle Ages.